Follow the Ashes – The Road Beyond Ruination

Cas approached the door and opened it. The Simulation Room beyond had not fully reset yet; trees and sky glitched in and out of realization with color schemes that did not suit them. The artificial Raph flickered in and out of existence like a ghost unable to manifest itself.

“Nothing for me out there,” Cas said to herself, uncertain if she was right but determined to press on to someplace new. She had finally gotten answers, but they left her with even more questions. Gavin’s death did nothing to help her.

She reached into her pocket and shivered when her fingers glided over the cold metal of Gavin’s cybernetic eye, still coated in a soft layer of ashes from immediately after his final moments. She withdrew her hand from her pocket and wiped it on her pants. She reached for the panel by the door and tried entering a different combination before opening the door. A small light panel above the door blinked red with each attempted combination, and each time she opened the door the same Simulation Room awaited her on the other side.

Cas noticed a separate panel to the left of the door. It was an older interface that lacked a touchscreen or mechanical keys.

“A key card reader,” Cas said “I suppose I should be surprised.” She ran the card key through the reader and waited with bated breath. The light above the door flashed red briefly. It flashed a second time, and then turned solid green and remained lit.

The door remained shut. The room shuddered suddenly, and Cas felt subtle rumblings of movement beneath her feet. She shut her eyes and focused, but struggled to determine which way the room may started moving. Almost as soon as the room had started moving, it shuddered to a stop.

The doors slide open and revealed hallway. The walls glittered a gold that, even at a glance, was clearly more than paint. The floors were carpeted with vibrant red carpeting. Cas stepped into the hallway. A grid of green light illuminated the ceiling. It moved downwards, scanning the corridor, and passed over Cas before she could step back.

“ID mismatch detected,” a computerized voice said. “Speak your name and business or you will be eliminated for trespassing. Have a nice day!”

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